Posted: Jul 20, 2012
In April 2011, Paula Vernezos and her family made a special visit to Washington, D.C. to talk to legislators about a topic near and dear to their heart: cord blood banking. As a baby, Christo Vernezos had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, and no matches existed in the national or international cord blood banks for a much-needed transplant. Thanks to a transfusion from his younger brother whose cord blood stem cells were collected by CBR, six-year-old Christos Vernezos is living five years cancer-free. Read Paula’s letter below to find out how younger brother, Yanni, talked with Christos about their “perfect match.”
Christos and Yanni,
How incredible you both are: smart, loving, generous and caring. I am in awe and so in love with you both. Some may think our journey here has been brief, but getting here is nothing short of a miracle. Our trip to Washington D.C. in April 2011 portrays our journey beautifully.
Yanni, when you were four and Christos, six, we journeyed to D.C. to talk about the importance of cord blood banking. You listened while I told the Congressional representatives Christos had been very sick with a rare form of cancer called Acute Megakarioblastic Leukemia and desperately needed a cord blood stem cell transplant to save his life. There were no matches in the national or international cord blood banks. It was you, Yanni, who had a “perfect match” which would save Christos’ life! CBR (Cord Blood Registry) offered to process and store your cord blood for free until Christos was ready to receive his transplant. Now Christos has been cancer free for 5 years now.
Our presentation impressed our representatives in Washington, but made an impact on the two of you too. Because, later that evening as we walked in DC, Yanni asked, “Mommy? I saved my brother’s life? I gave him my blood or something?” Christos immediately chimed in and said, “Umm, yes Yanni! I got your blood in me with a big needle here (lifting his shirt to expose the scars on his chest)!” “Oh!” said Yanni, “Did it hurt?” Christos just said “Nah.”
You proceeded hand in hand talking to one another, repeating in your own words what you had heard Mommy say earlier.
I felt so lucky as I watched you both to walk and talk through the streets of our nation’s capitol! Our journey has been nothing short of a miracle and I thank God, our family, friends and the entire medical team that helped get us here and for every tomorrow that we have together.
I love you in my heart. Always and forever.